Retail Health & Safety: Working Together to Improve Safety at Work

Image showing a Retail Shopping Centre
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How to mitigate retail health and safety risks through culture

The Autumn/Winter collections have landed and we’ve even seen the first deliveries of Christmas stock on the shelves. As shoppers prepare for colder weather and the holiday season, we turn our focus to retail health and safety. We explore how focused training and working together can keep both staff and customers safe.

The Labour Force Survey for 2015/16 – 2017/18 reported a 2.20% rate of workplace injury for the wholesale & retail industry. That’s above the all-industry average (1.78%) and, perhaps surprisingly, it’s even higher than manufacturing (2.18%). Add to that the number of potential customer injuries and it’s clear health and safety needs to be taken seriously by everyone working in retail. Beyond the legal obligations for retailers to protect staff and customers, a collaborative approach to health and safety helps reduce absence and inefficiency, which benefits the business financially.

Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 outline the need to get employees involved in health and safety. Increasing ownership and accountability for good health and safety practice isn’t just heavily regulated, research has also proven it increases team engagement.

We have identified three key elements in developing a strong health and safety culture.

1. Management Commitment

A senior management team committed to an effective health and safety culture dedicates time and effort to developing and monitoring health and safety practices across the organisation. This commitment is an indicator to more senior staff of the importance of health and safety to the business. Consider the message sent to teams by senior leaders who proactively check in on health and safety matters. Compare that to the message sent by leaders who delegate their H&S meeting attendance, or allow the agenda item to fall off when meetings over-run.

2. Walking the Talk

An extension of the management commitment; active day-to-day management of health and safety is critical. It means walking the talk. Managers who spend time on the shop floor, regularly discuss health and safety matters with staff, and champion risk resolution when an issue arises, find their teams have a greater awareness and commitment to the health and safety of their colleagues and customers.

3. Collaboration

As with any type of culture development it is vital to involve team members. Regular health and safety updates and reviews, as well as seeking feedback and ideas for improvements, help to ensure teams feel broad accountability for the health and safety challenges they encounter as part of their jobs.

Whilst the development of an effective health and safety culture comes mostly from within organisations, formal training focused on key risks gives managers and team members a good understanding of the main health and safety issues they may face in their day-to-day work.

Retail Health and Safety : How can we help?

Sure Safety offers more than 100 ROSPA eLearning courses, covering the top three retail health and safety risks; Slips, Trips and Falls; Manual Handling; and Violence and Aggression in the Workplace. With effective training your team can proactively identify and mitigate risks, helping towards building an effective health and safety culture.

If you would like to hear more about our retail health and safety training and consultancy services, please contact us by email or call us on 029 2086 8802.